Time to lose: The political potential of duration in postdramatic performance
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This thesis deals with the problem of time and duration in contemporary performance and specifically the political potential that time as a dramaturgical tool holds in order to manage the audience’s attention and offer experiences which cultivate alternative viewing habits. The exploration of that potency is conducted through the examination of two case studies, Schwalbe speelt een tijd by the Schwalbe collective and End by Kris Verdonck. The focus of the research concerns the formal characteristics of the two performances, which also position them in the postdramatic paradigm, namely repetition / durational temporality (Bergson, Lehmann), visual dramaturgy (Fuchs, Stein) and the lack of dramatic narrative. I argue that the combination of these elements in the case studies enables a substantially different inhabitation of time (not oriented towards effectiveness and productivity), which opposes the normalized perception of time in western (late) capitalism (as described by Marx’s theory and B. Kunst and J. Crary’s conceptualizations of time in the twenty-first century). From the opposition between the habitualized perception of time and the experience of contradictory temporalities which confuse, disorient and irritate him/her, the viewer ultimately becomes dispossessed (B. Kunst) of his/her subjective feeling of time and duration acquires a political potency, since it constitutes a rupture in the normalized perception of the passing of time. The radical potency of that function is further discussed in the context of the politicality of postdramatic theatre (Lehmann) and under T.W.Adorno’s theoretical framework (Aesthetic Theory) about the politicality of art and the limitations/ potentials it holds as a tool for social change.